Oven Cleaner Causes Breathing Problems

Updated November 21, 2016

Aerosol oven cleaners contain a corrosive chemical called sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as lye. They also contain chemicals such as diethylene glycol monobutyl ether, monoethanolamine and butane. Most of these substances cause breathing problems.

Sodium Hydroxide Effects

Inhaling sodium hydroxide fumes causes breathing issues such as sore throat, runny nose and sneezing. It may also severely inflame the lungs or cause an accumulation of fluid to build up inside the lungs. Inhaling large amounts causes spasms in the upper airway that block air flow and stop the heart.

Other Chemical Effects

Diethylene glycol monobutyl ether causes irritation to the respiratory tract. People who inhale this substance may experience coughing, difficulty breathing and chest pain. Inhalation of monoethanolamine causes coughing, sore throat and breathing difficulty as well.


David Adam, writer for the Guardian, recommends reading the warning labels on the oven cleaner cans and following the manufacturer's recommendations for safety. He suggests wearing rubber gloves and a mask, as well as ensuring that the room is properly ventilated. Move to fresh air if the poisons are inhaled and contact a health care professional.

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